Last Sunday, when I was in my neighborhood– the Oceanview District of San Francisco– walking my dog Zev, I passed the Cosmopolitan Baptist Church– which had just finished a service. I could tell because lots of upbeat people were coming out of the church and jovially socializing. Now– David, Kaleb and I had attended a church service there about two years ago. Ever since then, I have wanted to approach Reverend Alfred Gentle to talk to him about Torah and the teaching of the mezuzah, but I had not had the courage– until Sunday– when one of the church-goers, who was all dressed up, struck up a casual conversation.
I gathered my courage, and asked him if he felt the congregation would be interested in perhaps deepening their understanding of the Bible by seeing the Torah up close. He said he thought the Reverend would be the person to talk to about that. So– we set up a meeting, and today, he came over!
We spent almost two hours getting to know each other and talking about the Torah, the Hebrew, the Bible and the tradition of the mezuzah. It always surprises me how little people know about the Torah. He had never seen one up close and did not know the teaching of the mezuzah at all.
He asked good questions, like “As a Christian, how would this knowledge be helpful to me and our congregation?” My answer took a minute to formulate. But my answer was two fold. One was, that the teaching/reminder of the mezuzah is a powerful spiritual tool, that anyone can benefit from– because it is helpful to create sacred space, to set intentions for a home of loving kindness. Second– by sharing this Jewish tradition, it is a way to soften the lines between people– and create a more peaceful world.
He left my house in great spirits (me too) — with lots of information about the mezuzah, and my artwork. He plans on passing it along tonight to the president of the sisterhood at his church– who organizes many women’s events there. He thought my art and message would be a good fit. I promised that when I have a program ready for the wider congregation, I will call him up again and we’ll work something out. 🙂